ShnUpdate - Tzuf 11.06.21
Shabbat Shalom. I cannot believe it has been a full 8 weeks on Shnat Netzer and I am writing my second Shnupdate already, time has truly flown by. This week has been a very busy and exhausting one, yet it has continued to be engaging, exciting and enjoyable for all of us!
Our week began in Jerusalem. We had several classes on Thursday morning, including Hadracha with Colin Bulker (which is my favourite lesson of the week)! Throughout the session, we spent time discussing “Ideology vs Values and Beliefs”. Collin explained to us that often ideology begins as a critique of society, leading communities to express their vision of what society should be, ultimately leading them to explore the methods in which could be used to achieve such goals.
As many know, June is “Pride Month”. So the Shnatties and I left promptly after lunch (with several others from Machon) to march through Jerusalem supporting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. The parade was incredible and something none of us had ever experienced before. We sang, danced and stomped our way through the city, along side the Reform Movement (and thousands of others).
Early on Friday morning, we picked up our bags and headed for Haifa, to spend the weekend with the Noar Telem Shinshinim. We spent some time playing (what we call) “Get To Know You” games. We discussed things like our dream job, least favourite food, spirit animal, ideal future home and more. Once we all knew each other a little better, we had a short tour of the local area, before having a falafel picnic in the park. After lunch, we spent time in the Communa getting ready for Shabbat and preparing Friday night dinner, before going to the Leo Baeck School. We spoke to Benji (Director of Resource Development and Israel-Diaspora Relations) and a couple of students. Whilst we were there, we spoke about Tali’s grandpa, Harry Jacobi. We were all delighted to hear that recently, a scholarship has been named after him, celebrating his life and memory.
Kabbalat Shabbat was run by Rabbi Gabby and Rabbi Na’ama. However, it was their last service there as they are now moving to a different community. I found the chosen psalms and melodies heart-warming and comforting; I felt totally at home!
Saturday began with a fabulous lie-in, a full ten hours of sleep (which we have not been getting on Machon - we’re still getting used to the Latin American culture), before getting the bus down to the beach for Shacharit and a relaxing day by the water. We sang and laughed and splashed around for hours. Later that evening we had two peulot run for us by Kineret (the madricha of the Communa) and our lovely Orit! Kineret encouraged us to research different communities (including, the Tamera community, the Suffragettes movement and the “Me Too” campaign) that strive for positive change and we spent time exploring how we, as young people in youth movements, can also live our lives in a way that strives for positive change. Before starting Orits peulah, discussing our relationship and connection with Israel, and our own countries, we had delicious pizza for dinner!
Early on Sunday morning we left the Communa and joined the rest of Machon at Tzipori National Park, where we spent the day finishing what we had left of Mass Bereshit. We explored revolutions in Judaism and spent time connecting it to revolutions in our own lives and within wider modern society. For example, Israeli and Palestinian relationships, the concept of Zionism and Feminism within Judaism.
Our gorgeous (Rosh Chavurah) Suzy ran a peulah for us on Monday, bridging the 2000 year gap between Masa Bereshit and Masa Israel and discussing “The Jewish Problem” and the solutions, responses and reactions to what was going on at that time. We spent the afternoon at Zichron Yakov, learning about the first Aliyah, religious immigration of families.
On Tuesday morning we got the bus to Chatzar Kineret, where we spoke about the second Aliyah (immigration of young, single socialists who “worked the land”). We then had lunch at Deganya (a nearby kibbutz) before swimming in the pool at another local kibbutz. Several of us then went to the beach afterwards and witnessed the most gorgeous sunset before heading back for dinner.
Wednesday consisted of learning about the third, forth and fifth Aliyot. Our machon madrichim ran an incredible peulah for us about the third Aliyah and how the people immigrating we’re all from Tnuot Noar (youth movements) and we spent some time exploring how we can relate to those chalutzim in our own youth movements and what we can bring back to our own communities at home. We later swam in the natural pools of kibbutz lfat, which were beautiful, and had a relaxing afternoon, with a fabulous barbecue too! We spent the rest of the afternoon concluding the five Aliyot by talking about the 1930s, where those making Aliyah were escaping Naziism and the beginning of the Holocaust.
We spent our final day in Haifa learning about illegal immigration and what went on in the detention camps until people made Aliyah. It was difficult to see the reality of the camp but it was insightful and a really engaging day. After lunch, we all got in our different coaches to travel to where we were spending the weekend. Some of us have come to Tel Aviv for the weekend, others have gone to visit family and some others have gone back to Jerusalem. We will reunite on Saturday night before starting classes again on Sunday.
Our week in Haifa was amazing and we fell totally in love with it. The views, the people and the atmosphere there are all amazing and I’m sure we will go back to visit. I look forward to seeing what the coming weeks bring us and I hope we are able to cope with the heat as we begin to enter Israeli summer!